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Subido, Jr. vs.

Sandiganbayan
January 20, 1997 Special civil action in the Supreme Court. Certiorari. Justice Davide, Jr. FACTS: June 25, 1992: Bayani Subido, Jr. (then a Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation) and Rene Parina (then a BID Special Agent), while in the performance of their official functions, caused the issuance and implementation of a warrant of arrest (dated June 25, 1992) against James J. Maksimuk, knowing full well that the BID Decision (dated June 6, 1991) requiring Maksimuks deportation had not yet become final and executory considering the pendency of a Motion for Reconsideration. Maksimuk was detained for 43 days, causing him undue injury. July 17, 1995 (but filed on July 28, 1995): Subido and Parina were charged in the Sandiganbayan with Arbitrary Detention, defined and penalized by Art. 124 of the Revised Penal Code. 28 August 1995: Subido and Parina filed a Motion to Quash, contending that in view of the effectivity of R.A. No. 7975 (An Act to Strengthen the Functional and Structural Organization of the Sandiganbayan, Amending for that Purpose Presidential Decree No. 1606, as Amended) on May 6, 1995, amending P.D. No. 1606 (Revising Presidential Decree No. 1486 Creating a Special Court to be Known as Sandiganbayan and for Other Purposes), the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over both the offense charged and the persons of the accused. o Argument #1: Arbitrary Detention did not fall within Chapter II, Sec. 2, Title VII of the RPC, but within Sec. 1, Chapter I, Title II (Crimes Against the Fundamental Laws of the State) not covered by R.A. No. 7975; the case should have been filed with the Regional Trial Court of Manila o Argument #2: R.A. No. 7975 should have been given prospective application; at the time the case was filed, Subido was already a private person since he was separated from the service on February 28, 1995, and Parina did not hold a position corresponding to salary grade 27 o Argument #3: Penal laws must be strictly construed against the State. September 28, 1995: prosecution filed Opposition to the Motion to Quash, contending that it was clear from Sec. 4(b) of R.A. No. 7975 that the Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over both the offense charged and the persons of the accused considering that the basis of its jurisdiction x x x is the position of the accused in the government service when the offense charged was committed and not the nature of the offense charged, provided the said offense committed by the accused was in the exercise of his duties and in relation to his office. October 9, 1995: petitioners filed Supplement to the Motion to Quash. o Assertion #1: the allegations in the information were vague. o Assertion #2: under Sec. 1, Rule VIII of Memorandum Order No. 04-92 (Rules of Procedure to Govern Deportation Proceedings), the grant or denial of bail to an alien in a deportation proceeding was discretionary upon the Commissioner, hence could not be subject to a charge of arbitrary detention. o Subido was separated from the service before the effectivity of R.A. No. 7975, hence retroactive application thereof would be prejudicial to him. o At the time the information was filed, Parina was not occupying a position corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher, as prescribed by R.A. No. 6758 (Compensation and Classification Act of 1989). October 20, 1995: prosecution filed Rejoinder. o Argument #1: with Sec. 4 of Memorandum Order No. 04-92, Salazar vs. Achacoso and Gatchalian vs. CID, the only instance when an alien facing deportation proceedings could be arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest was when the Commissioner issued the warrant to carry out a final order of deportation absent in this case due to the pendency of the motion for reconsideration timely filled o Argument #2: the basis of the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction over the case was the position of the accused when the crime was committed, not when the information was filed. Subidos position as a Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration was classified even higher than grade 27 under the Compensation and Classification Act of 1989. October 25, 1995: Sandiganbayan denied the petitioners Motion to Quash and the Supplement thereto; arraignment was set on November 10, 1995. November 9, 1995: to abort arraignment, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, submitting that under the vast power of the Commissioner of the Department of Immigration, he could authorize the arrest and 1

detention of an alien even though a deportation order had not yet become final, in light of the preventive, not penal, nature of a deportation order. November 10, 1995: Sandiganbayan issued 2 Orders: 1) denying petitioners motion for reconsideration, and 2) entering a plea of not guilty in favor of petitioners since they objected to arraignment.

ISSUES/QUESTIONS PRESENTED: WON Arbitrary Detention is covered by R.A. No. 7975 WON the case should have been filed with the RTC of Manila instead of the Sandiganbayan WON R.A. No. 7975 should be given prospective application

RULING: Petition DISMISSED. Questioned resolution and orders of the respondent Sandiganbayan are AFFIRMED. REASONING: R.A. No. 7975 took effect on May 16, 1995, or 1 year, 10 months and 21 days AFTER the alleged commission of the crime. Thus, the applicable provisions are Sec. 4, P.D. No. 1606, as amended by E.O. No. 184, but PRIOR to their further amendment by R.A. No. 7975. o Sec. 4, P.D. No. 1606 the Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction in all cases involving: Violations of R.A. No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), R.A. No. 1379, and Chapter II, Sec. 2, Title VII of RPC Other offenses or felonies committed by public officers and employees in relation to their office, x x x where the penalty prescribed by law is higher than prision correctional or imprisonment of six (6) years, or a fine of P6,000.00: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that offenses or felonies mentioned in this paragraph where the penalty prescribed by law does not exceed prision correctional or imprisonment of six (6) years or a fine of P6,000.00 shall be tried by the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court. o Precedents: Aguinaldo v. Domagas, Sanchez v. Demetriou, Natividad v. Felix, Republic v. Asuncion For the Sandiganbayan to have exclusive original jurisdiction over offenses or felonies committed by public officers or employees under the aforementioned Sec. 4, P.D. No. 1606, it was NOT enough that the penalty prescribed therefore was higher than prision correctional or imprisonment for 6 years or a fine of P6,000.00; it was likewise necessary that offenses or felonies were committed in relation to their office. o Petitioners were charged with the crime of arbitrary detention which was committed while in the performance of their official functions. As the detention allegedly lasted for a period of 43 days, the prescribed penalty is prision mayor (6 years + 1 day to 12 years). o Indisputably, the Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over the offense charged in the criminal case. Petitioners urged SC to apply Sec. 4, P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975, the law in force at the time of the filing of the information in the criminal case. The applicable provisions would be Sec. 2 and Sec. 4 of R.A. No. 7975. o Sec. 2. Section 4 of [P.D. No. 1606] is hereby further amended as follows: Sec. 4 the Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases involving: Violations of R.A. No. 3019, as amended, and Chapter II, Sec. 2, Title VII of the RPC, where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense: o Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989, specifically including: All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the Compensation and Classification Act of 1989. 2

Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this section in relation to their office. In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher, x x x exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper RTC, MTC, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, x x x Sec. 7 upon the effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts o Under the new law, the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the offense charged and their persons because at the time of the filing of the information, Subido was already a private individual, while the classification of Parinas position was lower than grade 27. Petitioners overlooked the fact that for purposes of Sec. 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, the reckoning point is the time of the commission of the crime. Subido never denied that as commissioner of Immigration and Deportation at the time of the commission of the crime, he was classified as having a position even higher than grade 27. There can, therefore, be no doubt that the Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over the crime allegedly committed by Subido. That Parina held a position with a salary grade of less than 27 at the time of the commission of the alleged crime is of no moment. He is prosecuted as a coconspirator of Subido, a principal accused, who held a position higher than grade 27. Petitioners invocation of the prohibition against the retroactivity of penal laws is misplaced. R.A. No. 7975 is NOT a penal law. o Penal laws or statutes are those acts of the legislature which prohibit certain acts and establish penalties for their violation; define crimes, treat of their nature, and provide for their punishment. o R.A. No. 7975, in further amending P.D. No. 1606 as regards the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction, mode of appeal and other procedural matters, is clearly a PROCEDURAL law, i.e. one which prescribes rules and forms of procedure of enforcing rights or obtaining redress for their invasion, or those which refer to rules of procedure by which courts applying laws of all kinds can properly administer justice. o Petitioners even suggest that it is likewise a CURATIVE or REMEDIAL statute: one which cures defects and adds to the means of enforcing existing obligations. Modification that benefits the accused. Prior to R.A. No. 7975s enactment, accused persons from faraway parts of the country had to come personally to Manila to attend and appear for cases filed against them, since the Sandiganbayan had its office/court in Manila. Now, if none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher as prescribed by R.A. No. 6758, exclusive jurisdiction shall be vested in the proper RTC/MTC/etc. All told, as a procedural and curative statute, R.A. No. 7975 may validly be given retroactive effect, there being no impairment of contractual or vested rights.